By John Schaffner
Mayor Shirley Franklin entered office with the slogan “I’ll make you proud.” Are we still feeling proud? Read on.
Deep pension hole
Wall Street and the national economic crisis are not providing much help to the city of Atlanta as it tries to get its three pension funds back on track.
The city’s largest pension fund, the general employees fund, lost nearly $64 million last month to end at an estimated $947 million Sept. 30.
The pension fund for city firefighters went from $408.2 million as of June 30 to $377.2 million by Sept. 30, a decline of an estimated $31 million in three months.
Estimates were not readily available for the police pension fund, but it is believed to have suffered much the same fate.
For the 12 months ending June 30, the city invested about $118.2 million toward employee pensions, about 20 percent of the city’s general fund budget. That figure is more than triple the amount spent on pensions in 2002.
Atlanta officials are looking into possible abuse of overtime in the city’s solid waste services division.
That division primarily consists of city workers who pick up trash. The operation was moved this year from the city’s general fund budget to an enterprise account.
The Atlanta City Council voted Oct. 6 to pay nearly $1 million to the owners of two Buckhead homes who blamed flooding in their residences on the city’s inability to maintain stormwater drains.
The owners of the homes on West Andrews Drive, near Austell Way, filed a lawsuit last year alleging their homes were damaged by constant flooding caused by stormwater runoff and raw sewage backups.
The settlement is $987,500. William Applegarth, who lives in one of the homes, said he had complained to the city about stormwater and sewer backup problems since the 1970s.
Atlanta is midway through a $4 billion overhaul of its aging water and sewer system; the overhaul originally was priced at $3.2 billion.
An Atlanta police officer has filed an ethics complaint against his chief, Richard Pennington, contending the chief made on-duty motorcycle officers escort members of his Corvette club through the city during the summer.
The complaint was filed anonymously out of fear of retribution, said Scott Kreher, the president of an Atlanta police union.
The escort incident reportedly happened July 12. Pennington owns a Corvette and is a member of the United Council of Corvette Clubs, which describes itself as the premier African-American Corvette club. The club was in Atlanta for a weeklong convention.
Atlanta ethics officer Ginny Looney confirmed an investigation is being conducted.